Amidst the festive season’s buzz, every choice can seem magnified, each carrying the potential to add to our stress or contribute to our contentment. The art of decision-making during this time isn’t just about ticking off to-do lists or fulfilling obligations; it’s about making choices that resonate with our ideals of a serene holiday. This chapter’s tools are curated to help you navigate these decisions with ease and intention, ensuring every decision is a step towards a holiday experience that embodies contentment and peace.

Decision-Making Tools: Five Questions For Intentional Choices

Some invitations are easy to decline. Others feel more obligatory and harder to decline. When faced with sticky holiday decisions, pause and ask yourself five questions:

  • Am I choosing to do this?
  • How do I feel about this?
  • Does this align with my holiday goals?
  • Is there enough potential upside to say yes?
  • Do I need to make this decision right now?

Decision-Making Question #1: Conscious Choices: “Am I choosing to do this?” 

This question ensures that your actions are deliberate and aligned with your desires, not just reactions to external pressures. Reflect on the comfort and fit of each commitment you consider, just like you would a new holiday sweater. By choosing this opportunity, are you taking time away from your vision of a successful holiday? Your holiday should be tailored to you, crafted with choices that feel right and comfortable. Saying no to what doesn’t fit is saying YES to what you value.

Decision-Making Question #2: “How do I feel about this?”

Uncovering the emotions driving your decision-making is a powerful tool. When uncertainty creeps in, asking, “How do I feel, and why am I opting in or out?” can provide clarity. Acknowledge the feelings that come up without judgment, and let them inform your choices. This introspection can reveal if you’re acting out of obligation, a desire for connection, or perhaps a need for rest. 

By understanding your motivations, you can make decisions that genuinely reflect your holiday goals. Use this insight to craft responses that are honest and respectful of both your needs and the expectations of others.

Decision-Making Question #3: “Does this align with my holiday goals?”

Every potential activity should be examined through the lens of your holiday goals. Ask yourself, “Does this align with my holiday goals?” This simple yet profound question ensures your choice builds towards the season you envision.

Decision-Making Question #4: “Is there enough potential upside to say yes?”

The answers to the first three questions reveal whether the opportunity aligns with your vision of a successful holiday. While it may feel uncomfortable to choose yourself and your priorities over a kind invitation, and that’s okay. But, if you are still tempted to say yes because it sounds different, potentially fun, and you want to go – that’s okay too. Be flexible enough to allow space for spontaneous joy!

Tip: Weigh new invitations against the description of a successful holiday developed with the Time Protection Tools and your goals from the Priority Protection Tools post. They’ll serve as a personal guide to making choices that enhance your holiday experience.

Decision-Making Question #5: “Do I need to make this decision right now?”

Stress interferes with our ability to think critically and creatively. Making decisions with a brain full of cortisol can be trying. Identifying and limiting exposure to stressors can vastly improve your decision-making environment. Recognize what triggers your stress response and consciously step away from it. Whether limiting time on social media or choosing not to engage in stressful conversations, strategic disengagement can help you maintain a clearer, calmer mindset.

Engaging in proactive stress reduction is crucial for clear-headed decision-making. Activities supporting physical health, like movement, hydration, and restorative sleep, can also enhance your mental clarity, making it easier to make decisions that align with your holiday intentions.

Very few invitations require an immediate response. I often respond, “That sounds lovely; let me check in with my husband to be sure our calendars are aligned on that day. I’ll let you know, thanks.” This gives me the time to think, clear my head of stress if necessary, and make a good decision.  

Tip: This post offers tools to disengage from the source of stress and recover.

Concluding Encouragement:

Making decisions that lead to a contented holiday season is a skill that can be honed with practice and intention. Use these tools to guide you through the sometimes challenging terrain of holiday decision-making. Remember, each choice is an opportunity to infuse your holiday with peace and contentment. As you move forward, carry with you the knowledge that you have the power to shape your holiday experience into one that brings you deep satisfaction and joy.


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